Customizing Google Analytics

Google Analytics allows users to customize their Google Analytics experience in ways that are more relevant. You may want to bring in outside resources for assistance with the configurations discussed below. Be sure to view the Other Resources section for more information.

Custom Reports

Creating custom reports allows you to monitor your LawHelp site in ways that are more relevant. The Customization option is available near the top of the screen next to "Reporting". The options that can be selected in a custom report are extensive, and by choosing to monitor or exclude particular metrics or dimensions you can create reports that provide you with a lot more detail. Google provides some step by step instructions on the basics of creating Custom Reports, as well as some extra information about custom reports. The Analysis Exchange program is also available to help create and monitor some custom reports.

Custom Dashboards

The dashboard option allows you to view many metrics all condensed into a central location. Dashboards are highly customizable and be altered to display your more valuable metrics. Google provides step by step instructions on how to do so in their Help Section. You can also find a number of Custom Dashboards created by others and shared online.

Custom Variables

You can create custom variables to tell you more about the individual categories that visitors belong to in order to learn more about the ways that visitors interact with your site. This is generally used to track customer purchases, but if you have specific ideas for types of visitors you would like to track, parameters can be set-up to monitor their activity specifically. The information from your custom variables will be located under the "Audience" section under the "Custom" tab. The Google summary of Custom Variables can be found here, while a more technical explanation is located here. You may want to bring in outside resources for assistance with configuration.


The most important tool Google Analytics offers for monitoring the successes of promotional efforts is the ability to Tag and track links. Tagging a link a subtle way to view where your visitors are coming from. When sending out a link to your LawHelp site or to a particular resource you can make slight alterations to the link using a Google Analytics URL builder, available here. The tagged link can then be sent out in an email to a listserv, posted on social media, or used in other online advertisements and announcements to monitor how many people arrive at your website from each campaign. If you happen to be utilizing Google Adwords, Google will automatically tag and monitor your links. There are a number of resources that provide further information on link tagging, including this article. Again, you may want to bring in outside resources for assistance with configuration.

Links can also be tagged in a way to measure offline marketing campaigns, such as print advertisements. The links that have been altered for tracking in online campaigns can be awkward and hard to remember for print advertisements, so instead you can create a slightly altered URL for your print ads that will redirect visitors automatically to your main homepage, but will also provide you with the number of visitors who came to your site from your printed ad campaign. A more detailed explanation of tracking offline campaigns can be read here.


A conversion on Google Analytics represents a visitor interacting with the site in a pre-determined way, such as clicking a specific link, downloading a specific file, or signing up to a mailing list. The concept of Conversions in Google Analytics typically is used to represent "someone who spent money on our website". This feature can still be used if there is something specific that you would like to monitor in terms of a campaign, such as how many people click a link to your site from a newsletter associated with a campaign. You can monitor conversions by setting Goals, instructions for which can be found here. You may want to bring in outside resources for assistance with configuration.


Google Analytics also offers an experiment feature which can help you to test and compare promotional campaigns, or aspects of your website. You can create as many as five different versions of your landing page and compare the data relating to Conversions, which are the fulfillment of certain goals you have set. In this way you can test and learn about what version of a landing page provides for example, the lowest bounce rate, or the highest number of unique page views. Experiments can be created using the "Start Experimenting" button under the Experiments section in the Content Reports section. Again, you may want to bring in outside resources for assistance with configuration.

Additional Questions/Need Help?
Please contact the HelpDesk with any Google Analytics questions.

Special thanks to Gwen Daniels and Lindsay Ditto at Illinois Legal Aid Online for additional input and guidance on using Google Analytics for statewide legal aid websites.